■ HD-quality video
Notes on netbooks
By Marc Saltzman
Q: We’re interested in buying a new com-
puter. Can you give an overview of netbooks
and notebooks? What’s the difference?
A: Great question, and it’s one of the more common
ones we receive from readers. After all, the two words
sound and look similar, so it’s easy to be confused
about how they’re different.
Also known as a laptop, a notebook is a portable
computer that behaves much like a desktop (i.e.,
stationary) PC. These mobile machines are relatively
powerful, usually include a disc drive and feature
LCD screens ranging from 13 to 18 inches.
Built-in wireless technology means you can log
online in various Wi-Fi “hot spots” around the
globe, such as a cafe or airport. A decent notebook
starts at about $500 to $600.
A netbook, on the other hand, is much smaller
and lighter than a notebook, with a smaller screen
( 7 to 10 inches), and is less expensive—usually starting at about $300. Netbooks also have integrated
wireless connectivity and are built for everyday
computing tasks such as surfing the Web, checking
e-mail and performing basic word processing. But
since they’re not as powerful as a notebook, they
aren’t able to handle more memory-intensive applications such as complex games or video editing.
Also keep in mind that netbooks do not have a
built-in optical (disc) drive; therefore, they won’t
play CDs or DVDs (and you can’t “burn” discs,
either) unless you pick up an external model that
plugs into a USB port.
Deciding on whether you should go with a netbook or notebook boils down to what you’re trying
to do with your computer—and your budget.
Q: I’ve heard about the capability of getting
HD-quality images through my camera and
camcorder. Can you explain?
tion quality, which looks spectacular
when viewed on a high-definition
television (HDTV) or computer
As opposed to the often grainy
and square-shaped (4: 3 aspect ratio)
video of the past, HD footage offers
many more lines of resolution (720
or 1080), resulting in a much sharper
and clearer picture, and in a wide-screen presentation (16: 9 aspect ratio),
allowing you to squeeze more family and friends
into the picture frame.
Videos taken in this format match up perfectly
with modern HDTVs and computer monitors featuring a wide-screen orientation.
After all, you get only one chance to capture
memories as they happen—a family vacation, baby’s
first steps or best friend’s wedding—so why not use
the best equipment available? Also consider that
you’re taking these videos not just for your own
enjoyment but for future generations too.
Plus, with free Web sites such as You Tube and
social networking services such as Facebook, you
can easily share your footage with anyone around
the world in minutes.
Which products have the ability to record high-def video? This exciting technology can be found
in a growing number of digital cameras today,
including both the compact point-and-shoot variety
as well as the bulkier, more complex single-lens
High-def video can also be taken by a variety of
camcorders, ranging from pocket video recorders
(popularized by the Flip brand of devices) to conventional, full-size camcorders that record video to
a memory card or hard drive. C
electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? E-mail them to:
Or send them to:
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
or fax to (425) 313-6718.
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
A: The latest cameras and camcorders are now
capable of shooting video in stunning high-defini-
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter “connection.”
At Online Edition, search
The Costco Connection
Costco offers a variety of netbooks and notebooks
in all warehouses and online at Costco.com. Also
available is a range of cameras and camcorders
that shoot HD-quality images. These products are
protected by Costco Concierge, Costco’s free tech-support program.
a leading high-tech
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author of 14 books.